In the case of any dispute between the parent or guardian of a child and an independent school, there are a few basic rules that should always be respected:
- – If you are unhappy with any aspect of your child’s education, make sure to put your complaints in writing, in email or letter.
- – Always abide by the school’s formal complaint procedure. Read the document carefully before you make the decision to remove your child.
- – Keep all documents and notes of any meetings, telephone conversations etc., as a record.
- – Endeavour at first to resolve all issues internally with school staff. If the issues persist, seek legal advice as to the next steps available to you.
When disputes arise between parents and independent schools, parents often feel particularly vulnerable, as independent schools, unlike state schools, are not obliged to conform to the Education Acts or Guidance issued by the Department for Education.
They must still, however, conform to the rules of natural justice and public law principles, as well as Independent School Regulations.
As the legal relationship between you as a parent and any school in the independent sector is a contractual one, you naturally demand a high level of service as a return for the fees you have paid. Sometimes, however, the level of education provided by independent schools is found to be of an insufficiently high standard.
On these occasions it can help to draw on the extensive experience of specialist education lawyers such as Match Solicitors, who have represented parents and students in disputes against independent schools, helping to secure the best possible outcome, whether through negotiation or litigation. Common areas of dispute include:
- – The withdrawal of pupils from schools without the required term’s notice, leading to disputes over the non-payment of school fees
- – Expulsion, suspension or requests for the removal of pupils
- – Complaint hearings
- – Bullying
- – Discrimination issues
- – Breach of contract and negligence claims
You read Anita’s full article here.
Anita Chopra is a director at education law specialists Match Solicitors and is a regular media commentator on legal issues arising in education. She has a “huge breadth of experience across all kinds of education” and “has a great instinct for cases.”